Strasburg Native, Michael Miller Leads Tours to Ukraine and Germany

"Strasburg Native, Michael Miller Leads Tours to Ukraine and Germany." Emmons County Record, 8 December 2010.

Strasburg native, Michael Miller leads tours to Ukraine and Germany The 16th Journey to the Homeland Tour of May 20-30, 2010, sponsored by the NDSU Libraries’ Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, included tour members with roots to Emmons County. The tour members stayed in Odessa, Ukraine and visited their ancestral former Catholic Black Sea German villages of Elsass, Kandel, Mannheim, Selz and Strassburg of the Kutschurgan District (South Russia). Today these villages are located about one hour from Odessa near the Republic of Moldova border. The other mother colony of the Kutschurgan District is Baden. Immigrant German families departed from primarily the area of Alsace, France and Baden, Germany between 1804-1808 for South Russia (today near Odessa, Ukraine). Children of these same families later emigrated from these villages near Odessa to North Dakota in the 1880s and 1890s settling primarily in Emmons, Logan and Pierce counties. Later many of these families left North Dakota and settled in southern Saskatchewan. The tour leader was Michael M. Miller, a Strasburg, N.D. native, Director and Bibliographer, NDSU Libraries’ Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo. Tour members included Mary (Heidrich) Baumgartner, Strasburg; Shirley (Wald) Pearson (Strasburg native), Savannah, Tenn.; Roger & Karen Reede (Roger is a native of Zeeland), Painesville, Minn.; Valencia (Schumacher) Wald, Venturia and Marie Weber (native of Hague), U.S. Army, Germany. Color photographs from the May 2010 tour are at

The tour group spent five days in Odessa and five days in Stuttgart, Germany. While in Stuttgart, they traveled for a bus tour to Alsace, France. For information regarding the 17th Journey to the Homeland Tour: Ukraine and Germany, contact Michael Miller at 701-231-8416 or

Website information at

The cross standing at the cemetery of the village of Elsass (Alsace). The cross was saved from the former St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Elsass and erected by the villagers at the cemetery. Left to right, Karen Reede, Elvira Zakharova, tour guide from Odessa, Mary Baumgartner, Marie Weber, Val Wald, Shirley Pearson, Roger Reede and Michael Miller.
Michael Miller standing with Louisa Riesling of Selz standing in her root cellar with canning jars in background. Louisa came back from Latvia in the early 1990s to claim the home of her parents. Louisa speaks German so she could communicate with tour members.
Earthen German built house in the village of Mannheim built by a German family with Ukrainians living there today.
Interior of the former Church of the Assumption, Selz, no longer used for worship. This large structure was considered one of the most impressive architectural churches of the many German colonies of South Russia.
The former St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Strassburg. The Church today is used as a cultural community center.
View of the former Catholic Church of the Assumption, Selz.
Tour members visiting a high school English class at the school in Elsass.
Standing by the sign for town of Strassburg in Russian, left to right, Michael Miller, Marie Weber, Val Wald, Shirley Pearson and Mary Baumgartner. Strasburg was named after this village.

Permission to print this article from Emmons County Record

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller